Thursday, April 27, 2006

More Jane Jacobs

Maud Newton provides space for a nice tribute to Jacobs by Duncan Merrill:
...Jacobs’s whole body of work, engages something much bigger than architecture and planning.

The Death and Life of Great American Cities is a humane book, a book about what we aspire to be and how we aspire to live, a book that stands in opposition to the idea that other people are to be escaped, or turned away. In Jacobs’s view, isolation was the problem in failing neighborhoods, and if you take that a step further, you see what she was suggesting about human life more generally. Any writer could learn something from her understanding of isolation and its varieties.

Jacobs was tough-minded, and a piquant writer. She had no time for squishy ideas about how communities might work. She wanted to know how they did work. That meant being right in the middle of it all and watching closely for months and years on end.

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